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Douglas MacArthur advised President John F. Kennedy to “never fight a land war in Asia

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Old 10-24-2010, 12:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Douglas MacArthur advised President John F. Kennedy to “never fight a land war in Asia

Douglas MacArthur advised President John F. Kennedy to “never fight a land war in Asia

In 1961, Gen. Douglas MacArthur advised President John F. Kennedy to “never fight a land war in Asia.” That advice stands as true then as it does today; the futility of the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan stands as testament to it.

Several years, trillions of dollars and thousands of lost soldiers later, and here we are, still fighting in Afghanistan. America only recently pulled out “combat troops” from Iraq, but be fooled not — we maintain troops and operations there. Furthermore, we are now fighting a silent war in Pakistan using drones to strike across the border from Afghanistan, and to what avail?

The war in Afghanistan seemed obvious to Americans in late 2001. That country harbored terrorists; we had to send troops there. Almost a decade later, we’re still fighting to wipe out terrorism, not realizing that our actions in Afghanistan are almost certainly creating the terrorists we hope to destroy.

Iraq was a little harder to sell to the American public, but not by much. Throw around the words “weapons of mass destruction” enough, and it must be true. The Bush administration also convinced many that Saddam Hussein’s regime had ties to 9/11. Plus, those heathens didn’t know what good ol’ democracy was. We’ve got to send troops there, too. Seven years later and we’ve come away with nothing but a country thoroughly raped of its dignity, not to mention the millions killed and millions more displaced by our military ventures. No weapons of mass destruction. No ties to 9/11. No democracy. Nothing.

And now the CIA, in collaboration with the U.S. military, is sending drones to attack Pakistan. An Oct. 2 article in the Wall Street Journal noted that “in recent months, the military has loaned Predator and Reaper drones to the Central Intelligence Agency to give the agency more firepower to target and bombard militants on the Afghan border.” They can get away with it because they aren’t sending American troops there, and because we have absolutely no respect for Pakistan or its people.

What have we accomplished with all this? One would hope that our government has at least weakened the terrorists and their networks. We have not; in fact, we have probably made the terrorist networks stronger. Even as we take out the top leaders, young people devastated by the collateral damage that killed their family members are more than eager to join the fight against us.

Glenn Greenwald, in his Oct. 4 salon.com column, summed up the futility of the War on Terror quite well: “The very idea that we’re going to reduce terrorism by more intensively bombing more Muslim countries is one of the most patently absurd, self-contradicting premises that exists.”

Some people are even starting to speak of war with Iran over its nuclear issue. Even if Iran sought nuclear weapons, which it might, what would it do with them? They pose no threat to us. If they attacked Israel, Tehran and every other major city in Iran would be leveled in an instant. They do it for the attention, and we’re giving it to them.

I say we forget about Iran; we’ve got enough to worry about. We need to focus on getting all of our forces out of Iraq. We need to end this pointless war in Afghanistan. We need to quit bombing countries without their permission and without regard for the people living there.

More than anything, though, we need to lose this “us vs. them” mentality that pits the West against the whole of the Muslim world. We are creating our own enemies, and the only way to stop doing so is to accept that the War on Terror is just another land war in Asia.

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